Port Harcourt — The Bayelsa Development Initiative has berated successive governors of Bayelsa State for failing over the years to deliberately address the ecological challenges of ocean communities in the state, accusing Governor Douye Diri of insensitivity to the people’s plight.
This is as ocean surge has rendered many people homeless in several communities in Brass local government area of Bayelsa State.
The group said the recent visit by Governor Douye Diri to Odioma community where ocean surge is wreaking havoc in Brass, was a demonstration of the cluelessness, incompetence and insincerity of the PDP-led government to solve the problems of coastal communities.
Secretary of the group, Mr. Michael-Sam Rodamini, in a statement sighted by our correspondent in Port Harcourt, accused the governor of grudgingly visiting the impacted communities’ days after the Labour Party’s Governorship Candidate, Engr. Udengs Eradiri, had gone there to inspect the disaster, sympathise and provide hope to the people.
Rodamini said the governor only scheduled his visit for political exigency and not out of his genuine interest to deal with the ecological issues in the state.
He said, “The traumatised people of Odioma cried for many weeks and begged for urgent interventions from the government to save them, but the clueless Douye Diri-led PDP government turned deaf ears to their pains.
“The people of Odioma were abandoned to the surge, which continued to encroach into the communities pulling down houses of different sizes and rendering the inhabitants homeless. Nothing was done by this incompetent government.
“But immediately the LP Candidate, Engr. Udengs Eradiri, visited the area to inspire hope, Governor Diri assembled his entourage and went there for political reasons. We make bold to say that Diri’s visit was politically motivated against the backdrop of his struggle for reelection in the state.
“We want to tell Governor Diri that the people of Odioma and indeed the entire people of Bayelsa are not foolish. They know when people are genuinely concerned about their plight and when they only play politics for votes. The people have woken up and are determined to change these political hawks that had hovered around the state for many years”.
The group regretted that all the successive administrations in the state had failed to realise that the wealth of Bayelsa lies in the sea and that oceanic communities need special attention to develop the state.
Rodamini further sympathized with the people of Obogoro community in Yenagoa, where erosion had swallowed many houses and render residents homeless.
“They all cry over poor internally generated revenue but failed to realise the economic potential of the ocean surrounding the state to generate massive internal revenue.
“We remembered that when the erosion started eating up the community of Obogoro and destroying people’s hard-earned assets, the people cried, lamented and begged the government for help, but the Douye Diri’s government ignored them providing no help.
“The people kept crying. Many of them lost their buildings and turned tenants in neighbouring communities. Some even lost their lives. But the insensitive administration of Diri carried on as if all is well. But as the election drew closer, the government reluctantly started shoreline protection but later abandoned it. This government is heartless.
Meanwhile, Governor Douye Diri who visited Odioma in Brass Local Government Area yesterday told the people that the menace was beyond the capacity of the state government alone to handle.
The governor explained that he was seeking the help of the federal government and oil firms operating in the area to save the coastal settlements from going into extinction and promised to start remedial work to protect the shoreline.